Persons [ ] Music is an experience, not a science | Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020

Ennio Morricone fix a paint on his house wall, Rome, 1966

“I was born in 1928, so in 1943, 1944, we had the war in Rome. There were a lot of
hardships, a lack of food, many shortages. So when I worked with the Americans,
the English, and the Canadians soon after the war, when I played with them, they paid
me with food. That will give you an idea how widespread poverty was at that time.”

“I was offered a free villa in Hollywood, but I said no thank you, I prefer to live in Italy.”

“In my youth, cinemas showed two films in one day. I used to watch both of them.
It may sound strange, but ‘West Side Story’ was the only musical I liked. I didn’t like
musicals, or films with songs, at all. I always thought they were not real, that the songs
sounded a little bit false. But in the case of ‘West Side Story,’ things were different.”

“My favourite type of pizza is a Napoletana: tomatoes, mozzarella,
and very few anchovies. It must have a thin base.”


Ennio Morricone, Janiculum Hill, Rome, 1966


“Music is an experience, not a science.”

“I often use the same harmonies as pop music because
the complexity of what I do is elsewhere.”

“I come from a background of experimental music which mingled
real sounds together with musical sounds.”

“My more risky or avant garde music is not that well known
to a wider audience, but I wish it was.”

“Bernard Herrmann used to write all his scores by himself. So did Bach, Beethoven
and Stravinsky. I dont understand why this happens in the movie industry.”

“You can see my decision as either a distinctive factor
or as a limitation. I don’t feel it is a limitation.”

“We live in a modern world, and in contemporary music the central fact is
contamination. Not the contamination of disease but the contamination of
musical styles. If you find this in me, that is good.”


Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone pose together in the primary school year book, 1937


“I also used these realistic sounds in a psychological way. With The Good, the Bad and the
Ugly, I used animal sounds – as you say, the coyote sound – so the sound of the animal
became the main theme of the movie.”

“Music needs room to breathe.”

“In music, what is very important is temporality of space and length, based on the
breathing space the director gives the music within the film, by separating the music
from various elements of reality, like noises, dialogues… That’s how you treat music
properly, but it doesn’t always happen this way. Music is often blamed, but it’s
not its fault.”

“Popularity doesn’t bother me. It attests to the affection and comprehension of the
public. The important thing is to retain the pioneer spirit. I profoundly love the
profession, and I work on each film as if it were the first – and the last. Giving the
best of myself. Many of the ‘greats’ ask their arranger to write their scores for them.
Me, I write all alone, from the first note to the last. All.”

Ennio2BMorricone 1
Ennio Morricone


“It could have been extremely boring to write musical scores for only westerns
of horror films. It was really exciting for me to work in all these various genres.”

“I want people to know about all the kinds of music that I write.
Some believe I just write film scores, which is not true.”

“I like to feel and understand people’s contentment with what I’ve done.”

Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020

Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, 1978
Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza (also known as The Group or Il Gruppo) was
an avant-garde free improvisation group considered the first experimental composers collective.
Main Members: Franco Evangelisti (piano, percussion) -Ennio Morricone (trumpet, flute)
– Egisto Macchi

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